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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


State Street businesses to receive less comp tickets

Event attendees gather on State Street during last year’s Freakfest Halloween celebration when nearly 45,000 came to listen to live music. This year, All Time Low and Neon Trees will be headling the event with a live DJ performing at one of the three stages.[/media-credit]

Madison business leaders heard small business owners’ grievances caused by changes to Freakfest rules and reviewed security measures for enforcement of the event during a meeting Wednesday.

During the Madison Business Improvement District meeting, members said State Street business owners were given four Freakfest tickets to ensure they could access their businesses in the past should problems arise. This year, that number was lowered to three for businesses that close at or before 6 p.m.

Jeanette Riechers, owner of Madison Sole on State Street, argued reducing the number of complimentary tickets inconveniences small businesses and displays a lack of concern for business needs as a part of the city’s event.


According to Riechers, problems such as vandalism or attempted robbery frequently arise during Freakfest. Riechers said she and her staff would require more than three tickets to be able to access the property and ensure the store remains unharmed.

“It seems counterintuitive to me when we are already sacrificing business that day,” Riechers said. “This seems like such a petty thing to do to cut off tickets we may need to access our stores.”

BID Executive Director Mary Carbine echoed these concerns, saying that providing businesses with additional tickets does not constitute a loss of revenue for the city and only hurts small businesses.

Assistant to the Mayor Astra Iheukumere contended small business owners are able to request more tickets, should they feel that they are needed.

“I realize it’s inconvenient, but this is the city’s response to accommodating the needs of businesses,” she said.

According to Iheukumere, the lowered number of tickets available coupled with increased ticket prices are among the city’s attempts to cut costs on an event that costs Madison more than $200,000 each year.

Business owners and downtown residents continued to express concern, to which Iheukumere responded she would raise the issue with Mayor Paul Soglin.

Madison Police Department Central District Capt. Carl Gloede and Frank Productions Productions Manager Charlie Goldstone also discussed the security measures that would be taken this year, along with the logistics of the event.

Private security staff will patrol the perimeter while the MPD controls enforcement within the event zone.

Gloede said that extra police will be in the downtown area on Friday night as well.

He added the entire event zone will be fenced and closed off beginning as early as the morning of Oct. 29. Every intersection and cross street of the State Street area will be blocked off during the event and throughout most of the day.

Langdon Street and University Avenue will remain open during the event to allow access to the downtown area, Gloede said.

All public parking ramps will remain open, but meters within a block of the event site will be bagged and restricted, Gloede said. Street parking will be available further away from the event perimeter, and all bike racks in the State Street area will also remain available during Freakfest.

The event’s stages will be located on the Capitol Square, at the intersection of Gilman and State streets and on North Frances Street. The Gilman Street stage, which features a DJ, will close at 1 a.m., while the other two will remain open until 1:30 a.m.

Goldstone said tickets are currently available both through Frank Productions and at multiple State Street businesses. Tickets are $8 when purchased in advance and $12 on the day of the event.

CORRECTION:Due to a reporting error, the quote attributed to BID member Mary Sollinger actually should be attributed to Mary Carbine, BID Executive Director. We regret the error.

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